Desktop Icon Grouping

Various KDE 1.-4. Improvements

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Description:

I usually spend a lot of time organizing and the such. I also like a nice looking environment. I would like to propose a type of icon grouping. You would have the auto-expanding transparent windows, or any color you like, that would hold icons like containers. The icons would be on the desktop but grouped together visually to help organize. It is no different than just placing the icons close together, you just have some sore of visual cue behind the group.

Maybe you could also make the container do things like shade or rotate to an iconified position. I know this sounds a lot like just having a folder and then placing the icons in there but I think that would be too heavy. Plus this would be much more visually appealing.

Justace

janet

16 years ago

You don't want to post the plain background wallpaper without terminal and icons on it, do you?

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Sebien

16 years ago

I've also thinked of a sort of icon grouping.

I've thinked to group icons... By subfolders.
e.g. :
- All launchers in ~/Desktop/apps in a group (shaded... with grayed background ala Konsole, etc...)
- All items in ~/Desktop/CurrentProject in another "visual group"...

Then, add files in those subfolders will update correctly the desktop with auto-grouping !!

But by now, my desktop is full of icons, so this willn't help me.
Just an idea...

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MOD

leinir

16 years ago

I just posted something to the kde-usability mailing list regarding something else (dragging windows to/from other desktops...), but on the same mockup there are some ideas about showing the contents of a pile of icons (which might be made by making a folder containing a .folder with a Type=Iconpile or somesuch?). The mockup is found at http://www.leinir.dk/temp/new-clock-idea.jpg

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Justace

16 years ago

I think that I understand your screenshot. For our purpose here you are speaking about the upper left hand corner? I like the circular layout. Instead of having a grid layout, there could be a geometry layout. Where the hotspots of the icons snap to key locations on a geometrical construct. So you could have a circle and icons automatically center on points at n(pi/6) around that circle. That would be great, complicated but totally cool. You could have circles, lines, splines, grids (special incarnation of line), ovals....

Justace

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leinir

16 years ago

Indeed I am talking about the upper left corner :) Actually, from a programming point of view, if it is to be drawn like that, I think that it would actually be the easiest shape to make (putting the icons in a circle), because you would only have to calculate a simple vector from the centre of the parent icon to a point x*(y/z) on that circle where
x=icon number
y=circumfence of the circle
z=total number of icons

...Which, thinking about it, would be the exact way you would do it with any other shape... Hmm... Interesting prospects :) Now if only I had the C++ skills to hack at KDesktop ;)

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Justace

16 years ago

Ohhh, damnit!!!

I wish that I had more time. That is kind of like that preview for the movies that is coming out. I just don't have the free time to impiment this right now. Maybe in the summer? If I can figure it out. Here is a timeline/list of components that need to be done to get this to work and have the functionality I envision.

1. Add icon hotspots
This would create a spot on the icon that positions itself on the grid center when moving the icon.
An default setup would have a possible eleven hot spots to select. icon upper left, icon upper center, icon upper right, icon center left, icon center center, icon center right, icon lower left, icon lower right, icon lower right, text center left, text center center, text center right.

2. Add a snap while moving mode to icon placement. The grid would be fixed and pre-computed. The user can choose best fit mode or just say that he wants the icons to be on 100x100 pixel centers.

3. Add a plugin interface to handle the "icon pile," I liked that term, fun. This plugin would be responsible for drawing the window and the such.

4. Implement a grid override for icons in the pile. That way you can have your desktop icon snap grid and a different on for the icons in the pile.

5. Humm, this is getting long and wisshy, but still good. Store two extra settings for the configuration local to that icon. The first being "icon size" a relative icon size so that some might be smaller than others, or some larger than other. This is similar in functionality to the gnome interface. The second being the "show preview enabled" flag. That way, you can set it to not show the preview for just that icon. By default it would be enabled, but if set could add some power for the end user. This could also do things like I could say, I want all icons in this pile to not show their previews. Then the pile would iterate over each icon in the pile and set the flag to false.

6. Look into the styling engines. Is there a way to specify window types to choose how to draw? If there is then generate styles for the window drawing.

7. Make it cool, if it is not already, by adding the ability to do things like fade to not enabled. In this way you can not select the icons. You could also have it set to sink to an icon to get its contents out of the way. The options are endless. But should deffinitly be handled in the plugin. That way if somebody wants to use a different icon pile system they can. There could be simple and heavy.


Just more ideas

Justace

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M0rph1n

16 years ago

I had the same idea some time ago, but im just a java programmer and i have NO idea how to do it myself :-(

Please please please do it. Ok, it could look nicer than you painted it ;-) but hey, its the idea. This would be a inovation wich no other desktop has, but it would be VERY usefull

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patjo

16 years ago

thought I'd try to hack something like that the other day. Got a list of things I wanted:

· have certain icons have fixed positions (launch-icons) and have other icons flow around them.
· different icon-sets on different desks
· place icons by layout manager. Containers laid out by some sort of table layout inside the "desk". Will need an application where you add containers and drag-n-drop desktop icons into them. Attach mime type/extensions to certain containers.
· sort by mime-type, fixed pos, .... inside containers.
· make certain containers invisible on certain desks
· have a place for icons that are not manually put in a container (a misc container)
· Xinerama-support - my other screen is the TV. no-good to place things there.


The ideas are somewhat mutually exclusive and repeats the same concept but...then again my brain isn't exactly logical at all times.

Thought I'd give it a hacking-run the other day BUT I lost focus... I couldn't get desktop to reload .directory from DCOP-interface. Had to ...kill...edit .directory...restart kdesktop. It was a dirty hack to begin with but there are limits even for dirty hacks :-)

Anyone figured out how to get kdesktop to reread .directory without restarting it? I'm a friend of perl and java (yes, both, I'd betterpause while the audiens tries to grasp the implication :-)) I Have no experience of KDE-programming. But are willing to learn. :-)

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psy

16 years ago

I agree, it's a great idea. And maybe have posibility to activate a group of icons on selected virtual desktop... no ?

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Amibug

16 years ago

I agree this has alot of potential.

I think that also it would be nice if you could say click and hold down home, and have its contents pop up on the desktop in a group, or maybe pop up down the screen in a tree form (the functionality should be limited to something closer to a menu than a file manager)

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rakko

16 years ago

I've had this idea for a long time. I completely agree about directory windows being too "heavy." They take too long (for me) to start up, and they don't pop up in any specific place on the screen (although I suppose improvements to kwin could do that). Icon "piles" might have a similar effect.

Actually I think it would be neat for file managers to have different views besides the ones we're all used to. In a single view/window you might see a directory with most of its subdirectories shown as icons, but with one 'expanded' so that its contents are shown with its parent dir's contents. Maybe one could show a bunch of files of the same type taken from all different folders. I suppose this could be done in file managers/desktops and kioslaves supported SQL-like queries.

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adpsimpson

16 years ago

Um, not being cynical, but isn't this just what early versions of Windows had? Desktop groups, which could minimise to icons...

Personally, I hardly have any icons on the desktop - I use about 20 programs regularly, of which 17 are in kooldock along the bottom of my screen, on autohide so that they don't clutter the screen, but I can get them whenever I want. I don't have a single program icon on the desktop, as it's too difficult to get to them.

Nice screenshot though!

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Justace

16 years ago

Your right.

But there is a difference. You can put anything in them. More importantly for me it would be datafiles. Like in the example, a project file. Plus, the win 3.1 stuff looked really ugly. KDE could make it sexy.

I think that having certain things on the desktop help to promote productivity. Having icons on there that remind you of work is one of them.

I do not condone icon full desktop, I hate them, I call them "mother desktop's" sometimes. I like clean and productive.

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Justace

16 years ago

I am guessing that the mod would have to be done to the core of kwin. I don't think that it would be a good implementation if it was done as a separate application. Then there would also need to be kwin styles applied to it.

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sarahb523

16 years ago

I also need such a feature, becasue my desktop always full of unordered crap. It's anoing to sort all icons.

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Rottweiler

16 years ago

Just this morning I spent some amount of time trying to organize a cluttered desktop.

I vote "yes".

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Justace

16 years ago

You could also move the entire group by clicking on the box and dragging much like a window.

And, yhea, the hack job is really bad, but it is just to show what I mean

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